Fantastic Fest 2019’s First Wave Of Programming Has Been Announced (And It’s Amazing)

JOJO RABBIT! IN THE TALL GRASS! COME TO DADDY! It's an embarrassment of riches!

It's First Wave Announcement Day for Fantastic Fest 2019, which means today is a holy day 'round these parts. The Birth.Movies.Death. crew looks forward to Fantastic Fest (now in its 15th year, believe it or not!) much like overcaffeinated children look forward to Christmas. It's the one time of the year we all get to be in the same room together, the one week where we all get to stop worrying about whatever's happening in Hollywood and focus on our undying love for film. It's also the best goddamn film festival in the country. 

Looks like Fantastic Fest is gonna hold onto that title, too. These folks have really outdone themselves this year, lining up a first wave of programming that's absolutely stacked with must-see titles: Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit (with Waititi in attendance!), Brad Anderson's Fracture, Ant Timpson's Come to Daddy, Vincenzo Natali's In The Tall Grass, Daniel Scheinert's The Death of Dick Long, a Showgirls documentary called You Don't Nomi...and that's just scratching the surface.

Check out this year's Fantastic Fest poster (designed by the great Chris Bilheimer), then we'll get into the titles...


Argentina, Spain, 2019

North American Premiere, 93 min

Director - Mariano Cohn

A 4x4 car will be the battleground between a brash thief trapped inside and the mysterious man who will do anything to keep him imprisoned.


BLOODY BIRTHDAY: Presented by AGFA + Arrow Films

USA, 1981

World Premiere of Restoration, 85 min

Director - Ed Hunt

The classic Killer Kids slasher, newly restored by Arrow Films and presented by AGFA.



USA, 2019

World Premiere, 95 min

Director - Damien LeVeck

Reverend Max and his best friend Drew have a hit web show where they make a pretty good living faking exorcisms for hundreds of thousands of fans until the evening a real demon takes over and terrorizes their crew.



New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, 2019

Texas Premiere, 94 min

Director - Ant Timpson

When 30-year-old Norval receives a letter from his estranged dad begging him to visit, he is set on a weird path of discovery, unusual encounters… and a lot of violence.


Greece, 2019

World Premiere, 95 min

Director - Rinio Dragasaki

Anna, an eccentric supermarket cashier with an obsessive taste for a trippy treat called Cosmic Candy, undergoes a quirky transformation when forced to care for a ten-year-old neighbor girl.



USA, 2019

Austin Premiere, 107 min

Director - Daniel Scheinert

Dick is dead but no one knows how, and Zeke and Earl are desperate enough to go to any lengths to stop anyone from finding out the reason… but a small town in Alabama is not the kind of place where secrets can stay buried for long. Soon all hell breaks loose, engulfing the two men in a reckoning they had never even considered.



France, 2019

North American Premiere, 77 min

Director - Quentin Dupieux

When Georges buys himself a deerskin jacket, he will find his life on a collision course with madness, crime, and the desire to be the only man wearing an overgarment.



Austria, 2019

North American Premiere, 90 min

Directors - Kelly Copper & Pavol Liška

In this experimental adaptation of an epic Elfriede Jelinek novel, a group of Austrian tourists is killed in a traffic accident before reanimating as zombies and terrorizing a local pub.



Finland, Latvia, 2019

US Premiere, 105 min

Director - Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää

A heartbroken heart surgeon is introduced to the dark and extreme when his daughter gets her tongue pierced, sending him down a path of pain, dreams, life, love, death, and awakenings.



Japan, 2019

US Premiere, 108 min

Director - Takashi Miike

When aspiring boxer Leo discovers that he may not have long to live, he goes all out to help drug-addicted call girl Monica, facing down gangsters, assassins, corrupt cops, and much more over the course of one long night.



USA, 2019

World Premiere, 100 min

Director - Brad Anderson

An unfortunate accident at a truck stop means Ray has to rush his daughter to the nearest hospital for a broken arm, but when his family disappears, he soon finds himself in a frantic fight to discover what happened.



Germany, 2019

North American Premiere, 110 min

Director - Fatih Akin

Based on true events that transpired in the grimy slums of 1970s Hamburg, loner-turned-murderer Fritz Honka stalks his local drinking spot, The Golden Glove, in search of his next victim.


Canada, 2018

Texas Premiere, 97 min

Director - Alexandre Franchi

In Attendance - Director Alexandre Franchi and Actor E. R. Ruiz

An attractive teenager infiltrates a support group for those with facial differences in hopes of learning how to connect with his cancer-stricken mother in Alexandre Franchi’s (THE WILD HUNT) deeply personal, often hilarious, and powerfully inclusive sophomore feature.



USA, Canada, 2019

World Premiere, 115 min

Director - Jim Mickle

In 1988, a Philadelphia police officer doggedly hunts a serial killer whose crimes seemingly follow no pattern, but he hasn’t considered how far the repercussions of his hunt may go.



Canada, 2019

World Premiere, 90 min

Director - Vincenzo Natali

Adapted from the eponymous novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill, IN THE TALL GRASS follows siblings Cal and Becky who find themselves trapped within a vast field of tall grass when they venture in to answer the cries of a young boy.


USA, 2019

US Premiere, 108 min

Director - Taika Waititi

In Attendance - Director Taika Waititi

Writer director Taika Waititi (THOR: RAGNAROK, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE), brings his signature style of humor and pathos to his latest film, JOJO RABBIT, a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy (Roman Griffin Davis as JoJo) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.



USA, 2019

Texas Premiere, 109 min

Director - Jennifer Reeder

The disappearance of popular teenager Carolyn Harper has a profound ripple effect across her small midwest town in Jennifer Reeder’s hypnotic musical mystery.



Sweden, Denmark, 2019

Texas Premiere, 86 min

Director - Johannes Nyholm

When a disconnected couple take a camping trip in an attempt to mend their marriage after tragedy, they find themselves tormented by a peculiar band of misfits.



Germany, 2019

Texas Premiere, 79 min

Director - Sara Summa

One summer evening in rural Italy, the Durati family is murdered during a home robbery. THE LAST TO SEE THEM chronicles the previous — and final — day of their lives.


LIMBO: Presented by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!

USA, 1999

Texas Premiere of Restoration, 55 min

Director - Tina Krause

Tina Krause’s unseen and unreal shot-on-video horror movie, newly preserved by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!


THE MCPHERSON TAPE: Presented by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!

USA, 1989

World Premiere of Restoration, 63 min

Director - Dean Alioto

The world’s first found footage horror movie, newly preserved by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!


USA, 2019

Texas Premiere, 93 min

Director - Alexandre O. Philippe

Following up his deconstruction of PSYCHO’s shower scene in 78/52, documentarian Alexandre O. Philippe is back with his analysis of ALIEN, its origins, and the impact of Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi shocker.



Canada, 2019

World Premiere, 88 min

Director - Michael Paszt

In Attendance - Director Michael Paszt

An intimate and heartfelt look at professional wrestler Vampiro’s past, and his new life navigating the management of a lucha libre federation in Mexico, while raising his teenage daughter in Canada.



Belgium, 2019

World Premiere, 56 min

Director - Peter Van Goethem

In Attendance - Director Peter Van Goethem

In a dystopian society, the population is threatened by a virus eating its way through the brain, erasing memories. After developing a treatment to store and classify memories, the State requires citizens to comply.


THE PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION: Presented by AGFA + Severin Films

Canada, 1985

World Premiere 2K Restoration, 93 min

Director - Michael Rubbo

The Canadian children's oddity takes youthful fantasy to strange new places in a brand new 2K restoration.



Thailand, 2018

Texas Premiere, 90 min

Director - Ping Lumprapleng

When a dog trainer and his pet finish their commercial gig, it’s time to head home and enjoy a lazy afternoon floating in the pool… until he wakes up to the pool being drained and no way out.



USA, 2002

World Premiere of Restoration, 137 min

Director - Damon Packard

The new ground zero for gonzo horror surrealism in the 21st century, newly preserved by AGFA.



Argentina, 2019

North American Premiere, 83 min

Directors - Macarena García Lenzi & Martín Blousson

When Magdalena returns to Argentina to confront her half-siblings about her share of the inheritance, the stage is set for a family reunion both bloody and brilliant.


SHE MOB: Presented by AGFA + Something Weird

USA, 1968

World Premiere 2K Restoration, 82 min

Director - Harry Wuest

A gang of lesbian prison escapees kidnaps a gigolo in a 2K preservation of this sexploitation classic.


USA, 2019

Texas Premiere, 83 min

Directors - Jeremy Gardner & Christian Stella

In Attendance - Directors Jeremy Gardner & Christian Stella

When Hank's longtime girlfriend Abby leaves him, he spirals into a cycle of drinking and depression. But it's the monster that shows up every night that's really driving him crazy.



Hungary, 1981

US Premiere 4K Restoration, 81 min

Director - Marcell Jankovics

A psychedelic animated cult classic is back on the big screen in this brand-new restoration. Three brothers join forces to restore order in their kingdom, encountering bizarre and mind-bending challenges along the way.



USA, 2019

Texas Premiere, 94 min

Directors - Carlo Mirabella-Davis

Beautiful newlywed Hunter has a perfect home, perfect life, and perfect husband. When the pressure to maintain that perfection builds after the announcement of her pregnancy, she develops an unusual craving: swallowing random household objects.


TAMMY AND THE T-REX: Presented by AGFA + Vinegar Syndrome

USA, 1994

World Premiere of Restoration, 91 min

Directors - Stewart Raffill

Fully restored and ready to tear your head off. Literally.



United States, 2019

World Premiere, 87 min

Director - Gille Klabin

Frank (Justin Long), a bored corporate lawyer, decides to shake it up with a wild night out. In the process, he takes a mysterious drug that launches him into a mind-bending time travel adventure.



Romania, 2019

US Premiere, 97 min

Director - Corneliu Porumboiu

Corneliu Porumboiu mixes Romanian New Wave with Hollywood noir beats as he follows a corrupt detective who helps a wealthy criminal escape from jail by learning the ancient, secret language of silbo whistling.



Russia, 2019

Texas Premiere, 100 min

Director - Kirill Sokolov

In Attendance - Director Kirill Sokolov

After agreeing to kill his girlfriend's father, Matvei gets in way over his head when he arrives at her parents' apartment to learn her dad’s a cop.



USA, 2019

World Premiere, 78 min

Director - Michael Beach Nichols

In Attendance - Director Michael Beach Nichols

Pennywise isn’t real. But Wrinkles is. This documentary explores the story of the infamous freaky clown from Naples, Florida who makes a living being hired by parents to terrorize their naughty children.



USA, 2019

Texas Premiere, 94 min

Director - Jeffrey McHale

In Attendance - Director Jeffrey McHale

Using cleverly edited clips of Paul Verhoeven’s genre-spanning filmography, Jeffrey McHale’s video essay explores the decidedly un-titillating and delightfully inexplicable SHOWGIRLS and its continued, ever-expanding legacy.

The best part of all this? There's still plenty we don't know: this is just the first wave of programming, which means a number of other titles will be announced sometime between now and Fantastic Fest 2019's arrival in September (There's at least a dozen titles in the above I'm dying to see, so by the time this thing gets going I'm gonna have a lot of work to do).

If you're interested in attending this year's Fantastic Fest - and you should be, quite frankly - you should head on over to the Fantastic Fest website to get any questions you might have answered or a badge purchased in your name. This year's gonna be an absolute blast, and we hope to see as many BMD readers there as possible. Come up and say hi! Especially to Evan! He loves that! 

Stay tuned for more on Fantastic Fest 2019 in the weeks ahead. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

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